North Korea seeks mil­i­tary ‘equi­lib­rium’ with Amer­ica

UN con­demns lat­est mis­sile launch

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

North Korea said yes­ter­day it aims to reach an “equi­lib­rium” of mil­i­tary force with the United States, which ear­lier sig­naled its pa­tience for diplo­macy is wear­ing thin af­ter Py­ongyang fired a mis­sile over Ja­pan for the sec­ond time in un­der a month. “Our fi­nal goal is to es­tab­lish the equi­lib­rium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about mil­i­tary op­tion,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was quoted as say­ing by the state news agency, KCNA.

Kim was shown beam­ing as he watched the mis­sile fly from a mov­ing launcher in pho­tos re­leased by the agency, sur­rounded by sev­eral of­fi­cials. “The com­bat ef­fi­ciency and re­li­a­bil­ity of Hwa­song-12 were thor­oughly ver­i­fied,” said Kim as quoted by KCNA. Kim added the North’s goal of com­plet­ing its nu­clear force had “nearly reached the ter­mi­nal”. North Korea has launched dozens of mis­siles un­der Kim’s lead­er­ship as it ac­cel­er­ates a weapons pro­gram de­signed to give it the abil­ity to tar­get the United States with a pow­er­ful, nu­clear-tipped mis­sile.

Af­ter the lat­est mis­sile launch on Friday, White House Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser HR Mc­Mas­ter said the United States was fast run­ning out of pa­tience with North Korea’s mis­sile and nu­clear pro­grams. “We’ve been kick­ing the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” Mc­Mas­ter told re­porters, re­fer­ring to Py­ongyang’s re­peated mis­sile tests in de­fi­ance of in­ter­na­tional pres­sure. “For those ... who have been com­ment­ing on a lack of a mil­i­tary op­tion, there is a mil­i­tary op­tion,” he said, adding that it would not be the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pre­ferred choice.

Also on Friday, the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil con­demned the “highly provoca­tive” mis­sile launch by North Korea. It had al­ready stepped up sanc­tions against North Korea in re­sponse to a nu­clear bomb test on Sept 3, im­pos­ing a ban on North Korea’s tex­tile ex­ports and cap­ping its im­ports of crude oil. The US am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Nikki Ha­ley, echoed Mc­Mas­ter’s strong rhetoric, even as she said Wash­ing­ton’s pre­ferred res­o­lu­tion to the cri­sis is through diplo­macy and sanc­tions.

“What we are see­ing is, they are con­tin­u­ing to be provoca­tive, they are con­tin­u­ing to be reck­less and at that point there’s not a whole lot the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil is go­ing to be able to do from here, when you’ve cut 90 per­cent of the trade and 30 per­cent of the oil,” Ha­ley said. US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said that he is “more con­fi­dent than ever that our op­tions in ad­dress­ing this threat are both ef­fec­tive and over­whelm­ing.” He said at Joint Base An­drews near Wash­ing­ton that North Korea “has once again shown its ut­ter con­tempt for its neigh­bors and for the en­tire world com­mu­nity.”

Mis­sile

North Korea’s lat­est test mis­sile flew over Hokkaido in north­ern Ja­pan on Friday and landed in the Pa­cific about 2,000 km to the east, the Ja­panese govern­ment said. It trav­elled about 3,700 km in to­tal, ac­cord­ing to South Korea’s mil­i­tary, far enough to reach the US Pa­cific ter­ri­tory of Guam, which the North has threat­ened be­fore. “The range of this test was sig­nif­i­cant since North Korea demon­strated that it could reach Guam with this mis­sile,” the Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists ad­vo­cacy group said in a state­ment. How­ever, the ac­cu­racy of the mis­sile, still at an early stage of devel­op­ment, was low, it said.

On Thurs­day, US Sec­re­tary of State Tiller­son called on China, Py­ongyang’s only ally, and Rus­sia to ap­ply more pres­sure on North Korea by “tak­ing di­rect ac­tions of their own.” Bei­jing has pushed back, urg­ing Wash­ing­ton to do more to rein in North Korea. “Hon­estly, I think the United States should be do­ing .. much more than now, so that there’s real ef­fec­tive in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion on this is­sue,” China’s am­bas­sador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said on Friday.

“They should re­frain from is­su­ing more threats. They should do more to find ef­fec­tive ways to re­sume di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion,” he said, while adding that China would never ac­cept North Korea as a nu­clear weapons state. North Korea staged its sixth and most pow­er­ful nu­clear bomb test ear­lier this month and in July tested long-range in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles ca­pa­ble of reach­ing at least parts of the US main­land.

Last month, North Korea fired an in­ter­me­di­ate range mis­sile that also flew over Hokkaido into the ocean. Warn­ing an­nounce­ments about the lat­est mis­sile blared in parts of north­ern Ja­pan, while many res­i­dents re­ceived alerts on their mo­bile phones or saw warn­ings on TV telling them to seek refuge. The US mil­i­tary said it had de­tected a sin­gle in­ter­me­di­ate range bal­lis­tic mis­sile but it did not pose a threat to North Amer­ica or Guam. Global eq­ui­ties in­vestors largely shrugged off the lat­est mis­sile test by North Korea as shares on Wall Street set new highs on Friday.

Dif­fer­ences over talks

Trump has promised not to al­low North Korea to threaten the United States with a nu­clear-tipped mis­sile. Rus­sia’s UN am­bas­sador, Vass­ily Neben­zia, said the United States needed to be­gin talks with North Korea, some­thing that Wash­ing­ton has so far ruled out. “We called on our US part­ners and oth­ers to im­ple­ment po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic so­lu­tions that are pro­vided for in the res­o­lu­tion,” Neben­zia told re­porters af­ter the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing. “With­out im­ple­ment­ing this, we also will con­sider it as a non-com­pli­ance with the res­o­lu­tion.” Asked about the prospect for di­rect talks, a White House spokesman said, “As the pres­i­dent and his na­tional se­cu­rity team have re­peat­edly said, now is not the time to talk to North Korea.” — Reuters

This un­dated com­bi­na­tion pic­ture re­leased from North Korea’s of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency (KCNA) yes­ter­day the launch­ing drill of the medium-and-long range strate­gic bal­lis­tic rocket Hwa­song-12 at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion. — AFP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (cen­ter) in­spects the launch­ing drill of the medium-and-long range strate­gic bal­lis­tic rocket Hwa­song-12 at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion. — AFP

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